ExxonMobil said its subsidiary ExxonMobil Exploration and Production will use a newly built ultra-deepwater drillship to explore the deepwater Turkish Black Sea next year.

The new drillship, Deepwater Champion, is currently under construction by a subsidiary of Transocean at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

Deepwater Champion is a sixth-generation drillship capable of drilling to 40,000ft in up to 12,000ft of water, according to a statement by ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil entered into an agreement with the Turkish national oil company TPAO in November 2008 to jointly explore deepwater prospects in the Samsun block of the Black Sea.

In January this year, ExxonMobil signed an agreement with Petrobras and TPAO to acquire a 25% interest in the Sinop, Ayancik and Carsamba sub-blocks.